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Sunday, December 9, 2018

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First Saturday
ST. HUBERT

Acts, Chapter 13, Verse 43
After the congregation had dispersed, many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

The refusal to believe frustrates Gods plan for his chosen people; however, no adverse judgment is made here concerning their ultimate destiny. Again, Luke, in the words of Paul, speaks of the priority of Israel in the plan for salvation.[1]

Justification by Faith[2]

Paul summarizes Jesus’ mission by beginning with John the Baptist and stresses the failure of the Jewish people to recognize him. Yet, by grace and an act of faith, through baptism Jews can find justification with God and salvation with Him by the second person in the trinity; the son of God and not through the law but by grace.

Justification: Process or One-Time Deal?[3]

Romans 5:1 is a favorite verse for Calvinists and those who hold to the doctrine commonly known as “once saved, always saved:” Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. This text is believed to indicate that the justification of the believer in Christ at the point of faith is a one-time completed action. All sins are forgiven immediately—past, present and future. The believer then has, or at least, can have, absolute assurance of his justification regardless of what may happen in the future. There is nothing that can separate the true believer from Christ—not even the gravest of sins. Similarly, with regard to salvation, Eph. 2:8-9 says:

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God—not because of works, lest any man should boast. For the Protestant, these texts seem plain. Ephesians 2 says the salvation of the believer is past—perfect tense, passive voice in Greek, to be more precise—which means a past completed action with present on-going results. It’s over! And if we examine again Romans 5:1, the verb to justify is in a simple past tense (Gr. Aorist tense). And this is in a context where St. Paul had just told these same Romans: For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” Righteousness is a synonym for justice or justification. How does it get any clearer than that? Abraham was justified once and for all, the claim is made, when he believed. Not only is this proof of sola fide, says the Calvinist, but it is proof that justification is a completed transaction at the point the believer comes to Christ. The paradigm of the life of Abraham is believed to hold indisputable proof of the Reformed position.

THE CATHOLIC ANSWER: The Catholic Church actually agrees with the above, at least on a couple points. First, as baptized Catholics, we can agree that we have been justified and we have been saved. Thus, in one sense, our justification and salvation is in the past as a completed action. The initial grace of justification and salvation we receive in baptism is a done deal. And Catholics do not believe we were partially justified or partially saved at baptism. Catholics believe, as St. Peter said in I Peter 3:21, “Baptism… now saves you…” Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus, “Rise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” That means the new Christian has been “washed… sanctified… [and] justified” as I Cor. 6:11 clearly teaches. That much is a done deal; thus, it is entirely proper to say we “have been justified” and we “have been saved.” However, this is not the end of the story. Scripture reveals that it is precisely through this justification and salvation the new Christian experiences in baptism that he enters into a process of justification and salvation requiring his free cooperation with God’s grace. If we read the very next verses of our above-cited texts, we find the inspired writer himself telling us there is more to the story here. Romans 5:1-2 reads: Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. This text indicates that after having received the grace of justification we now have access to God’s grace by which we stand in Christ and we can then rejoice in the hope of sharing God’s glory. That word "hope" indicates that what we are hoping for we do not yet possess (see Romans 8:24). Ephesians 2:10 reads: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. There is no doubt that we must continue to work in Christ as Christians and it is also true that it is only by the grace of God we can continue to do so. But even more importantly, Scripture tells us this grace can be resisted. II Cor. 6:1 tells us: Working together with him, then, we entreat you not to accept the grace of God in vain. St. Paul urged believers in Antioch—and all of us by allusion—“to continue in the grace of God" (Acts 13:43). Indeed, in a text we will look at more closely in a moment, St. Paul warns Christians that they can “fall from Grace” in Galatians 5:4. This leads us to our next and most crucial point. The major part of the puzzle here that our Protestant friends are missing is that there are many biblical texts revealing both justification and salvation to have a future and contingent sense as well as these we have mentioned that show a past sense. In other words, justification and salvation also have a sense in which they are not complete in the lives of believers. Perhaps this is most plainly seen in Galatians 5:1-5. I mentioned verse four above. For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness.

The Most Important Thing

When Catholics read of Abraham "justified by faith" in Romans 5, we believe it. But we don't end there. For when Catholics read of Abraham "justified by works" in James 2 we believe that as well. For 2,000 years the Catholic Church has taken all of Sacred Scripture into the core of her theology harmonizing all of the biblical texts. Thus, we can agree with our Protestant friends and say as Christians we have been (past tense) justified and saved through our faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. But we also agree with our Lord that there is another sense in which we are being saved and justified by cooperation with God's grace in our lives, and we hope to finally be saved and justified by our Lord on the last day: I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned (Matt. 12:36-37).

All of this really comes down to faith without works is dead. Remember the last words of Mary in the bible “Do whatever He tells you.” All the singing and faith in the world must not drown out the love of God. Our faith if true; propels us to works of mercy and a sheer joy that celebrates life and defends life, liberty and happiness for ourselves and others.

First Saturday Devotion[4]

Five consecutive Saturdays in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The practice of the First Saturday devotion was requested by Our Lady of Fatima, who appeared to three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal, multiple times starting in 1917. She said to Lucia, the oldest of the three children: “I shall come to ask . . . that on the First Saturday of every month, Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world.” Years later she repeated her request to Sr. Lucia, the only one still living of the three young Fatima seers, while she was a postulant sister living in a convent in Spain: “Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce me at very moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me, and say that I promise to assist at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the rosary, and keep me company for 15 minutes while meditating on the 15 mysteries of the rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.” 

Conditions to Fulfill the First Saturday Devotion

There are five requirements to obtain this promise from the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On five consecutive first Saturdays of the month, one should:

1. Have the intention of consoling the Immaculate Heart in a spirit of reparation.
2. Go to confession (within eight days before or after the first Saturday).
3. Receive Holy Communion.
4. Say five decades of the Holy Rosary.
5. Meditate for 15 minutes on the mysteries of the Holy Rosary with the goal of keeping Our Lady company (for example, while in church or before an image or statue of Our Lady).
Read How to Make Your First Saturday Rosary Meditation According to Sr. Lucia

Why Five Saturdays?

Our Lord appeared to Sr. Lucia on May 29, 1930 and gave her the reason behind the five Saturdays devotion. It is because there are five types of offenses and blasphemies committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

1. Blasphemies against the Immaculate Conception
2. Blasphemies against Our Lady’s perpetual virginity
3.  Blasphemies against her divine maternity, in refusing at the same time to recognize her as the Mother of men
4.  Blasphemies of those who publicly seek to sow in the hearts of children, indifference or scorn or even hatred of their Immaculate Mother
5.  Offenses of those who outrage Our Lady directly in her holy images
Never think that Jesus is indifferent to whether or not His mother is honored!

St. Hubert[5]


Late in the eighth century, so runs the story, a hunter named Hubert, neither better nor worse than he should have been, was tracking a stag through the forest of the Ardennes. As he readied himself to shoot the animal with his arrow, he was startled when the stag turned suddenly in its flight, and he saw between its antlers a luminous cross. This experience caused Hubert to change his way of life, and he never hunted again. Yet only a few centuries later he was known as the patron of hunters, and is a saint greatly honored in France and Belgium.

Saint Hubert lived a full life. He became bishop of Tongres and traveled through his huge diocese on horseback and by boat, preaching and building churches to the glory of God. He was the friend of the great of his day — Pepin of Heristal and Charles Martel among them — and also of the poor. In particular his heart went out to prisoners, and he would secretly place food for them before their dungeon windows. As he died, he said to those about him, "Stretch the pallium over my mouth for I am now going to give back to God the soul I received from Him."

In parts of France and Belgium there has long been a custom of holding stag hunts on Saint Hubert's Day, and the hunters gather before the chase for Mass and the blessing of men and horses and dogs. After the hunt is over, those taking part gather for a bountiful breakfast consisting of fish, meat, salad, cheese, and dessert. Naturally the meat is venison of some sort, and the salad may well be one of dandelion greens.

Excerpted from Feast Day Cookbook

Patron: Archers; dog bite; dogs; forest workers; furriers; hunters; hunting; huntsmen; hydrophobia; liege, Belgium; machinists; mad dogs; mathematicians; metal workers; precision instrument makers; rabies; smelters; trappers.

Things to Do:

·         Have roast venison in honor of St. Hubert, patron of hunters.

Please pray for the soul of a great priest and friend of mine who I had the pleasure of knowing while stationed in Belgium-Father Paul Wolf as it was, he who introduced me to St. Hubert.


The Wolff of the Ardennes

Men are frequently blinded by fear and as a result often harmed themselves. The grace of God gives confidence to see the right and to stand when called. Father Paul was called to stand and became General Patton’s guide during the “Battle of the Bulge” while he was still a teen. Father Paul Wolff was 15 years old when he first joined the Belgium resistance during the years of the Nazi occupation of World War II. He was the youngest member of the Belgium resistance. Unfortunately, he and other members of his group were captured and at 17 he was tortured, condemned to death and imprison in the Nazi Prison in Liege, Belgium. There he languished yet his faith would not allow him to lose all hope and the resistance still worked to get him and the others (256) out. Part of the plan was to get a radio to the prisoners. To do this the resistance secreted small parts of a crystal radio inside bars of soap. Interestingly these were “Lever” brother bars of soap and were large about the size of a brick. Father Paul related that during the Nazi occupation not all Jews were in German prisons if they were of use to the Nazi’s. In this case the soap bars were made by the Lever Jews and the radio parts were easily hidden inside the soap bars. Father Paul stated that when they received the soap, they then washed their hands raw in wearing away the soap to get to the radio part. Then after several bars they constructed the radio which was the Morse code type. Father Paul typed in code in English which he spoke along with German and French the words over and over “SOS SOS 256 prisoners in Liege prison condemned to death SOS SOS.” They hoped someone would get the message and somehow, they would be rescued. All they had was hope.

Father also related that it drove the Nazi’s crazy because they intercepted the message but never suspected it was coming from the prison. Father Paul said that in the cell they were in there was only one barred window, but it was so high that to look out it required a person to stand on the shoulders of a fellow prisoner. He further relayed that they when they would see women that were friendly with the guards coming and going, they would call them the nastiest things they could think of calling them. Yet one day during an air raid while the guards were hiding as deep as they could go; one of these young women (secret agent) came and taking the heel of her shoe wrote on the pavement that during the air raid they are going to be rescued by commandoes and they were. Father Paul stated neither he nor the others ever lost hope.

After his escape he went underground. He was a friend of King Leopold III. He served as General Patton's Belgian guide during the battle of the bulge.

December 24, 1944

Father Paul communicated to me the tale about the battle of the bulge that has not been recorded in history. During WWII the US Army was segregated and black men were not mixed with white men. Black men mostly served in support roles such as transportation and as cooks, etc. During the course of the Battle of the Bulge’ Hitler sent in a special operations team to confuse and destroy the American Army. It was composed of American NAZI’s and German’s, who spoke perfect American slang, knew the culture, baseball stuff, etc. These Spec Ops were equipped with American Uniforms and equipment that was captured by Gen. Rommel from North Africa. Father Wolff was at a meeting with Gen. Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower and the English Gen. Montgomery in Luxembourg City on the evening of Dec. 24th, 1944. The Generals were very excited and afraid because of the effect these NAZI spec ops were having in the warzone and due to the fact that they had murdered many men. They did not know what to do. Patton who was a visionary, suddenly stood up and said, I know exactly what to do. From this time forward, nothing in the American Army will move without a black American in the group. Patton knew there were no black NAZI’s. As a result, black units were moved forward and integrated and as far as I know this was the first time in American History since the Civil War. As a result, the NAZI spec ops team was neutralized.

Sadie Hawkins Day is an American folk event and pseudo-holiday originated by Al Capp's classic hillbilly comic strip Li'l Abner (1934–1978). This inspired real-world Sadie Hawkins events, the premise of which is that females ask males for a date or dancing.


The Way[6] Purity

"Read these counsels slowly. Pause to meditate on these thoughts. They are things that I whisper in your ear-confiding them-as a friend, as a brother, as a father. And they are being heard by God. I won't tell you anything new. I will only stir your memory, so that some thought will arise and strike you; and so you will better your life and set out along ways of prayer and of Love. And in the end you will be a more worthy soul."

111.      Decorum and modesty are younger brothers of purity.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         Spiritual Warfare Day FOURTEEN


[2]The Collegeville Bible Commentary
[5]http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2016-11-03
[6]http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/the_way-point-1.htm

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